The Family Legacy
It has stood on this piece of ground since 1923. Built by Owen and Barbara Flynn as a summer camping cabin where Owen, suffering from tuberculous, could rest in the sun. It was one room and a deck overlooking the canyon and the South Fork of the Middle Fork of the Tule River. They leased the land from the United States Government for a term of 99 years. Owen passed away but Barbara came up for many summers after that, always bringing her granddaughters. One of them was my mother, Barbara. But Barbara Flynn eventually sold the lease. In 1955, on a day trip to see the cabin my father discovered that the lease was for sale. And the cabin returned to the family with the promise that the lease would always belong to a descendant of Barbara Flynn. After the loss of our parents, my brothers and I shared the lease. Each of us had spent long hours raking leaves, fishing, swimming, hiking, reading, playing cards and singing around campfires in the Sequoia National Forest and the little community of Camp Nelson where the cabin was nestled. Our children were raised on the dirt and pine needles that were the grounds of Tres Pinos. They learned to fish. They learned to use an antique toaster that required the turning of your bread and a careful eye to avoid “black bread”. They drank the soda water and learned to make ‘lemon fizz’ out of the foul tasting stuff. They ate soda pancakes that fried high and fluffy out of an old electric frying pan. They learned to start the fire in the old woodburning cook stove. They learned how to slide just so down the slide at the swimming hole. They learned to light a kerosene lamp. They learned about their family. Our brother’s ashes are scattered there. And now, some of those children have their own children that are learning the stories of Barbara Flynn and the legacy of the cabin. My brother and I have a wonderful opportunity to teach all of the family about the history of our little cabin. The people it touched. The people that touched it and brought a little of themselves to this place. We are especially cognizant of this opportunity as the cabin in threatened by fire. The Sequoia Complex Fire started many miles away in remote canyons of the High Sierras. It was started by lightening. Everyone thought it would stay there. We thought we were just fine. And then the winds shifted. They became gale force winds blowing the fire up and down canyon walls and steep granite cliffs. It spotted up to three miles ahead of itself. It roared and flew in ways that were new to firefighters. In two days it covered over 16,000 acres per day. And we thought we were safe. And the wind changed and it headed for Camp Nelson. Friends who lived there removed the only things of importance that were there–the family photo albums and the oil portrait of Barbara Flynn. Tonight we were told that no structures in Camp Nelson had been damaged. In the middle of the relief that we felt there was a nagging suspicion that Barbara Flynn and our brother Daniel had a lot to do with keeping that fire at bay. So, I will be telling stories. To you, dear readers and to the youngest of our family. We have a legacy. It is called Tres Pinos.